Publications by authors named "Johannes Hainfellner"

177 Publications

Clinical Neuropathology 2-2021.

Clin Neuropathol 2021 Mar-Apr;40(2):67-69

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http://dx.doi.org/10.5414/NPP40067DOI Listing
February 2021

Neurite Outgrowth Inhibitor (NogoA) Is Upregulated in White Matter Lesions of Complex Cortical Malformations.

J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 2021 Feb;80(3):274-282

From the Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Complex cortical malformations (CCMs), such as hemimegalencephaly and polymicrogyria, are associated with drug-resistant epilepsy and developmental impairment. They share certain neuropathological characteristics including mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) activation and an atypical number of white matter neurons. To get a better understanding of the pathobiology of the lesion architecture, we investigated the role of neurite outgrowth inhibitor A (NogoA), a known regulator of neuronal migration. Epilepsy surgery specimens from 16 CCM patients were analyzed and compared with sections of focal cortical dysplasia IIB (FCD IIB, n = 22), tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC, n = 8) as well as healthy controls (n = 15). Immunohistochemistry was used to characterize NogoA, myelination, and mTOR signaling. Digital slides were evaluated automatically with ImageJ. NogoA staining showed a significantly higher expression within the white matter of CCM and FCD IIB, whereas cortical tubers presented levels similar to controls. Further analysis of possible associations of NogoA with other factors revealed a positive correlation with mTOR and seizure frequency. To identify the main expressing NogoA cell type, double staining revealed dysmorphic neuronal white matter cells. Increased NogoA expression is associated with profound inhibition of neuritic sprouting and therefore contributes to a decrease in neuronal network complexity in CCM patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnen/nlaa159DOI Listing
February 2021

Combined proteomics/miRNomics of dendritic cell immunotherapy-treated glioblastoma patients as a screening for survival-associated factors.

NPJ Vaccines 2020 Jan 16;5(1). Epub 2020 Jan 16.

Activartis Biotech GmbH, Vienna, Austria.

Glioblastoma is the most prevalent and aggressive brain cancer. With a median overall survival of ~15-20 months under standard therapy, novel treatment approaches are desperately needed. A recent phase II clinical trial with a personalized immunotherapy based on tumor lysate-charged dendritic cell (DC) vaccination, however, failed to prolong survival. Here, we investigated tumor tissue from trial patients to explore glioblastoma survival-related factors. We followed an innovative approach of combining mass spectrometry-based quantitative proteomics (n = 36) with microRNA sequencing plus RT-qPCR (n = 38). Protein quantification identified, e.g., huntingtin interacting protein 1 (HIP1), retinol-binding protein 1 (RBP1), ferritin heavy chain (FTH1) and focal adhesion kinase 2 (FAK2) as factor candidates correlated with a dismal prognosis. MicroRNA analysis identified miR-216b, miR-216a, miR-708 and let-7i as molecules potentially associated with favorable tissue characteristics as they were enriched in patients with a comparably longer survival. To illustrate the utility of integrated miRNomics and proteomics findings, focal adhesion was studied further as one example for a pathway of potential general interest.Taken together, we here mapped possible drivers of glioblastoma outcome under immunotherapy in one of the largest DC vaccination tissue analysis cohorts so far-demonstrating usefulness and feasibility of combined proteomics/miRNomics approaches. Future research should investigate agents that sensitize glioblastoma to (immuno)therapy-potentially building on insights generated here.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41541-019-0149-xDOI Listing
January 2020

Clinical Neuropathology 1-2021.

Clin Neuropathol 2021 Jan-Feb;40(1):1-3

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http://dx.doi.org/10.5414/NPP40001DOI Listing
December 2020

Soluble PD-L1 is associated with local and systemic inflammation markers in primary and secondary brain tumours.

ESMO Open 2020 11;5(6):e000863

Department of Medicine I, Division of Oncology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria. Electronic address:

Background: Immune-modulatory treatments have so far shown limited clinical activity in primary brain tumours. We aimed to investigate soluble programmed death receptor ligand 1 (sPD-L1) as systemic inflammation parameter in patients with brain tumour.

Methods: EDTA plasma was collected from 81 glioma (55 glioblastoma (GBM), 26 lower-grade glioma (LGG)), 17 meningioma and 44 brain metastasis (BM) patients and 24 controls. sPD-L1 concentrations were determined by ELISA. Correlations with the local tumour microenvironment were assessed by immunohistochemical analysis for PD-L1, CD3 and CD8.

Results: sPD-L1 was detected in 62 out of 166 (37.7%) patients (glioma: 41/81, 50.6%; meningioma: 5/17, 29.4%; BM: 7/44, 15.9%; controls: 9/24, 37.5%; p=0.002). sPD-L1 concentrations were lower in BM than in LGG (p=0.003) or GBM (p<0.001). Membranous PD-L1 expression on tumour cells was not associated with sPD-L1 concentrations (p=0.953). sPD-L1 concentration was inversely correlated with the density of CD8+ (r=-0.713, p=0.001) and CD3+ (r=-0.484, p=0.042) tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes in LGG. sPD-L1 is correlated with neutrophil counts (r=-0.318, p=0.045) and C reactive protein levels (r=-0.363, p=0.008) in GBM. sPD-L1+ patients had longer overall survival in GBM (p=0.006) and worse OS in LGG (p=0.028).

Conclusions: sPD-L1 is detectable in a fraction of patients with brain tumour. Although it is not correlated with tissue PD-L1 expression, correlations with other local and systemic inflammation parameters could be detected in LGG and GBM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/esmoopen-2020-000863DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7662140PMC
November 2020

Distributed changes of the functional connectome in patients with glioblastoma.

Sci Rep 2020 10 27;10(1):18312. Epub 2020 Oct 27.

Computational Imaging Research Lab, Department of Biomedical Imaging and Image-Guided Therapy, Medical University of Vienna, Spitalgasse 23, 1090, Vienna, Austria.

Glioblastoma might have widespread effects on the neural organization and cognitive function, and even focal lesions may be associated with distributed functional alterations. However, functional changes do not necessarily follow obvious anatomical patterns and the current understanding of this interrelation is limited. In this study, we used resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging to evaluate changes in global functional connectivity patterns in 15 patients with glioblastoma. For six patients we followed longitudinal trajectories of their functional connectome and structural tumour evolution using bi-monthly follow-up scans throughout treatment and disease progression. In all patients, unilateral tumour lesions were associated with inter-hemispherically symmetric network alterations, and functional proximity of tumour location was stronger linked to distributed network deterioration than anatomical distance. In the longitudinal subcohort of six patients, we observed patterns of network alterations with initial transient deterioration followed by recovery at first follow-up, and local network deterioration to precede structural tumour recurrence by two months. In summary, the impact of focal glioblastoma lesions on the functional connectome is global and linked to functional proximity rather than anatomical distance to tumour regions. Our findings further suggest a relevance for functional network trajectories as a possible means supporting early detection of tumour recurrence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-74726-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7591862PMC
October 2020

Evaluation of an Assay for MGMT Gene Promoter Methylation in Glioblastoma Samples.

Anticancer Res 2020 Nov;40(11):6229-6236

Department of Pathology and Knight Cancer Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR, U.S.A.

Background/aim: To compare the GeneXpert® O6-methylguanine DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) methylation prototype (GX MGMT) assay with pyrosequencing in glioblastomas.

Materials And Methods: The MGMT methylation status was retrospectively assessed in formalin-fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) tumor blocks from 262 glioblastoma patients obtained from three independent cohorts using either a standard of care pyrosequencing laboratory developed test or the GX MGMT assay.

Results: The concordance rate was 92.1% (58/63) for Oregon Health and Science University (OSHU) samples, 91.7% (88/96) for Medical University of Vienna (MUV) samples, and 82.5% (85/103) for Kepler University Hospital (KUH) samples. Patients with MGMT promoter hypermethylation assessed by pyrosequencing or the GX MGMT test had a significantly longer overall survival compared to patients without hypermethylation (HR=0.43, 95%CI=0.26-0.72, p=0.001 and HR=0.51, 95%CI=0.31-0.84, p=0.008, respectively).

Conclusion: Standardized, simplified, and on-demand testing of MGMT promoter methylation by the GX MGMT assay is feasible.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.21873/anticanres.14643DOI Listing
November 2020

Clinical Neuropathology 6-2020.

Clin Neuropathol 2020 Nov/Dec;39(6):253-255

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http://dx.doi.org/10.5414/NPP39253DOI Listing
October 2020

Myelin Pathology Beyond White Matter in Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC) Cortical Tubers.

J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 2020 10;79(10):1054-1064

Department of (Neuro)Pathology, Amsterdam Neuroscience, Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a monogenetic disease that arises due to mutations in either the TSC1 or TSC2 gene and affects multiple organ systems. One of the hallmark manifestations of TSC are cortical malformations referred to as cortical tubers. These tubers are frequently associated with treatment-resistant epilepsy. Some of these patients are candidates for epilepsy surgery. White matter abnormalities, such as loss of myelin and oligodendroglia, have been described in a small subset of resected tubers but mechanisms underlying this phenomenon are unclear. Herein, we analyzed a variety of neuropathologic and immunohistochemical features in gray and white matter areas of resected cortical tubers from 46 TSC patients using semi-automated quantitative image analysis. We observed divergent amounts of myelin basic protein as well as numbers of oligodendroglia in both gray and white matter when compared with matched controls. Analyses of clinical data indicated that reduced numbers of oligodendroglia were associated with lower numbers on the intelligence quotient scale and that lower amounts of myelin-associated oligodendrocyte basic protein were associated with the presence of autism-spectrum disorder. In conclusion, myelin pathology in cortical tubers extends beyond the white matter and may be linked to cognitive dysfunction in TSC patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnen/nlaa090DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7559237PMC
October 2020

Analysis of the inflammatory tumor microenvironment in meningeal neoplasms.

Clin Neuropathol 2020 Nov/Dec;39(6):256-262

Background: Properties of the inflammatory tumor microenvironment are associated with disease subtype, grade, and prognosis in various cancer entities. As immune-modulatory therapies are currently being explored in patients with meningeal neoplasms, we investigated their inflammatory microenvironment (meningiomas and solitary fibrous tumor/hemangiopericytoma (SFT/HPC)).

Materials And Methods: 74 meningeal tumor specimens: (10/74 (13.5%) atypical meningioma; 8/74 (10.8%) anaplastic meningioma; 8/74 (10.8%) chordoid meningioma; 9/74 (12.2%) fibroblastic meningioma; 10/74 (13.5%) transitional meningioma; 3/74 (4.1%) rhabdoid meningioma; 7/74 (9.5%) meningothelial meningioma; SFT/HPC (19/74 (25.7%) were retrieved from the Neuro-Biobank, Medical University of Vienna, Austria.

Results: Tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) infiltration could be observed in the majority of the investigated specimens (CD3+: 66/74 (89.2%); CD8+: 47/74 (63.5%); CD45RO+: 29/73 (39.2%); FOXP3+ 19/74 (25.7%); PD1+: 3/74 (4.1%). No difference in TIL infiltration was observed between SFT/HPC and meningioma cases. Higher density of FOXP3+ TILs was observed with increasing WHO grade in meningioma specimens (p = 0.005). Membranous programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression was observed in 4/74 (5.4%) specimens, with 3/74 (4.1%) presenting with 1% and 1/74 (1.4%) with 3% PD-L1 expressing tumor cells. Lymphatic vessels as identified by podoplanin immunohistochemistry were observed in 10/74 (13.5%) specimens and were significantly associated with presence of membranous PD-L1 expression on tumor cells (p = 0.003).

Conclusion: Infiltration by various TIL subtypes can be observed in the majority of meningeal neoplasms, with enrichment of FOXP3-positive regulatory T-cells in higher-grade meningioma. PD-L1 expression on tumor cells was only infrequently found. A better understanding of the pathobiological role of the immune system in meningeal neoplasms may facilitate development of immunomodulatory treatment approaches in meningeal tumors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5414/NP301156DOI Listing
October 2020

Prkar1a haploinsufficiency ameliorates the growth hormone excess phenotype in Aip-deficient mice.

Hum Mol Genet 2020 Oct;29(17):2951-2961

Section on Endocrinology and Genetics, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.

Mutations of the regulatory subunit (PRKAR1A) of the cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP)-dependent protein kinase (PKA), leading to activation of the PKA pathway, are the genetic cause of Carney complex which is frequently accompanied by somatotroph tumors. Aryl hydrocarbon receptor-interacting protein (AIP) mutations lead to somatotroph tumorigenesis in mice and humans. The mechanisms of AIP-dependent pituitary tumorigenesis are still under investigation and evidence points to a connection between the AIP and PKA pathways. In this study, we explore the combined effects of Aip and Prkar1a deficiency on mouse phenotype and, specifically, pituitary histopathology. Aip+/- mice were compared with double heterozygous Aip+/-, Prkar1a+/- mice. The phenotype (including histopathology and serological studies) was recorded at 3, 6, 9 and 12 months of age. Detailed pituitary histological and immunohistochemical studies were performed at 12 months. Twelve-month old Aip+/- mice demonstrated phenotypic and biochemical evidence of GH excess including significantly elevated insulin-like growth factor 1 levels, larger weight and body length, higher hemoglobin and cholesterol levels and a higher frequency of growth plate thickening in comparison to Aip+/, Prkar1a+/- mice. Pituitary histopathology did not uncover any pituitary adenomas or somatotroph hyperplasia in either group. These results demonstrate a slow progression from elevated GH release to the formation of overt somatotropinomas in Aip+/- mice; the acromegalic phenotype of these mice is surprisingly ameliorated in Aip+/-, Prkar1a+/- mice. This highlights the complexities of interaction between the AIP and PKA pathway. Specifically targeting GH secretion rather than somatotroph proliferation may be an advantage in the medical treatment of AIP-dependent human acromegaly.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddaa178DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7566352PMC
October 2020

Clinical Neuropathology 5-2020.

Clin Neuropathol 2020 Sep/Oct;39(5):199-202

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http://dx.doi.org/10.5414/NPP39199DOI Listing
August 2020

Language network reorganization before and after temporal lobe epilepsy surgery.

J Neurosurg 2020 Jul 3:1-9. Epub 2020 Jul 3.

Departments of1Biomedical Imaging and Image-guided Therapy.

Objective: Epilepsy surgery is the recommended treatment option for patients with drug-resistant temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). This method offers a good chance of seizure freedom but carries a considerable risk of postoperative language impairment. The extremely variable neurocognitive profiles in surgical epilepsy patients cannot be fully explained by extent of resection, fiber integrity, or current task-based functional MRI (fMRI). In this study, the authors aimed to investigate pathology- and surgery-triggered language organization in TLE by using fMRI activation and network analysis as well as considering structural and neuropsychological measures.

Methods: Twenty-eight patients with unilateral TLE (16 right, 12 left) underwent T1-weighted imaging, diffusion tensor imaging, and task-based language fMRI pre- and postoperatively (n = 15 anterior temporal lobectomy, n = 11 selective amygdalohippocampectomy, n = 2 focal resection). Twenty-two healthy subjects served as the control cohort. Functional connectivity, activation maps, and laterality indices for language dominance were analyzed from fMRI data. Postoperative fractional anisotropy values of 7 major tracts were calculated. Naming, semantic, and phonematic verbal fluency scores before and after surgery were correlated with imaging parameters.

Results: fMRI network analysis revealed widespread, bihemispheric alterations in language architecture that were not captured by activation analysis. These network changes were found preoperatively and proceeded after surgery with characteristic patterns in the left and right TLEs. Ipsilesional fronto-temporal connectivity decreased in both left and right TLE. In left TLE specifically, preoperative atypical language dominance predicted better postoperative verbal fluency and naming function. In right TLE, left frontal language dominance correlated with good semantic verbal fluency before and after surgery, and left fronto-temporal language laterality predicted good naming outcome. Ongoing seizures after surgery (Engel classes ID-IV) were associated with naming deterioration irrespective of seizure side. Functional findings were not explained by the extent of resection or integrity of major white matter tracts.

Conclusions: Functional connectivity analysis contributes unique insight into bihemispheric remodeling processes of language networks after epilepsy surgery, with characteristic findings in left and right TLE. Presurgical contralateral language recruitment is associated with better postsurgical language outcome in left and right TLE.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.4.JNS193401DOI Listing
July 2020

Sex-Specific Differences in Primary CNS Lymphoma.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Jun 16;12(6). Epub 2020 Jun 16.

Division of Neuropathology & Neurochemistry, Department of Neurology, Medical University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria.

Sex-specific differences have been increasingly recognized in many human diseases including brain cancer, namely glioblastoma. Primary CNS lymphoma (PCNSL) is an exceedingly rare type of brain cancer that tends to have a higher incidence and worse outcomes in male patients. Yet, relatively little is known about the reasons that contribute to these observed sex-specific differences. Using a population-representative cohort of patients with PCNSL with dense magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and digital pathology annotation ( = 74), we performed sex-specific cluster and survival analyses to explore possible associations. We found three prognostically relevant clusters for females and two for males, characterized by differences in (i) patient demographics, (ii) tumor-associated immune response, and (iii) MR imaging phenotypes. Upon a multivariable analysis, an enhanced FoxP3+ lymphocyte-driven immune response was associated with a shorter overall survival particularly in female patients (HR 1.65, = 0.035), while an increased extent of contrast enhancement emerged as an adverse predictor of outcomes in male patients (HR 1.05, < 0.01). In conclusion, we found divergent prognostic constellations between female and male patients with PCNSL that suggest differential roles of tumor-associated immune response and MR imaging phenotypes. Our results further underline the importance of continued sex-specific analyses in the field of brain cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061593DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7352658PMC
June 2020

Dysregulation of the MMP/TIMP Proteolytic System in Subependymal Giant Cell Astrocytomas in Patients With Tuberous Sclerosis Complex: Modulation of MMP by MicroRNA-320d In Vitro.

J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 2020 07;79(7):777-790

Department of (Neuro)Pathology, Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Neuroscience, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), a rare genetic disorder caused by a mutation in the TSC1 or TSC2 gene, is characterized by the growth of hamartomas in several organs. This includes the growth of low-grade brain tumors, known as subependymal giant cell astrocytomas (SEGA). Previous studies have shown differential expression of genes related to the extracellular matrix in SEGA. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), and their tissue inhibitors (TIMPs) are responsible for remodeling the extracellular matrix and are associated with tumorigenesis. This study aimed to investigate the MMP/TIMP proteolytic system in SEGA and the regulation of MMPs by microRNAs, which are important post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression. We investigated the expression of MMPs and TIMPs using previously produced RNA-Sequencing data, real-time quantitative PCR and immunohistochemistry in TSC-SEGA samples and controls. We found altered expression of several MMPs and TIMPs in SEGA compared to controls. We identified the lowly expressed miR-320d in SEGA as a potential regulator of MMPs, which can decrease MMP2 expression in human fetal astrocyte cultures. This study provides evidence of a dysregulated MMP/TIMP proteolytic system in SEGA of which MMP2 could be rescued by microRNA-320d. Therefore, further elucidating microRNA-mediated MMP regulation may provide insights into SEGA pathogenesis and identify novel therapeutic targets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnen/nlaa040DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7304985PMC
July 2020

Association of programmed cell death ligand 1 and circulating lymphocytes with risk of venous thromboembolism in patients with glioma.

ESMO Open 2020 05;5(3):e000647

Division of Haematology and Haemostaseology, Comprehensive Cancer Center Vienna, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria; I M Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University, Moscow, Russian Federation. Electronic address:

Introduction: The role of the adaptive immune system in the pathophysiology of cancer-associated venous thromboembolism (VTE) has not been investigated in detail. Programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) is an immune checkpoint molecule responsible for immune evasion in several cancer entities, as expression on tumour cells silences the T cell-mediated immune response. Given the interrelation between inflammation, haemostasis and cancer, we aimed to investigate the association of players of the adaptive immunity (eg, lymphocytes, tumour PD-L1) with risk of VTE in patients with glioma, one of the most prothrombotic cancer types.

Methods: In this prospective observational single-centre cohort study, patients with newly diagnosed glioma or regrowth after resection were included. Primary endpoint was objectively confirmed VTE. At study inclusion, a blood draw was performed. Tumour PD-L1 expression was assessed via immunohistochemistry.

Results: In total, 193 patients were included. PD-L1 expression in ≥1% of tumour cells was observed in 20/193 (10.4%) glioma. In multivariable cox-regression analysis, on adjustment for age, sex and WHO grade IV, systemic lymphocyte counts were significantly associated with risk of VTE (HR per 1 G/L increase (95% CI): 1.15 (1.03 to 1.29), p=0.013). In contrast, no significant difference in risk of VTE was found regarding the PD-L1 status: the cumulative 24 months probability of VTE was 17.0% in patients with no PD-L1 and 11.8% in those with PD-L1 expressing tumours (p=0.663).

Conclusion: In summary, PD-L1 expression was not associated with risk of VTE. Interestingly, peripheral lymphocytes, which are key players in adaptive immunity, were linked to an increased risk of glioma-associated VTE.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/esmoopen-2019-000647DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7239522PMC
May 2020

The Subplate Layers: The Superficial and Deep Subplate Can be Discriminated on 3 Tesla Human Fetal Postmortem MRI.

Cereb Cortex 2020 Jul;30(9):5038-5048

Division of Neuroradiology and Musculoskeletal Radiology, Department of Biomedical Imaging and Image-Guided Therapy, Medical University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria.

The subplate (SP) is a transient structure of the human fetal brain that becomes the most prominent layer of the developing pallium during the late second trimester. It is important in the formation of thalamocortical and cortico-cortical connections. The SP is vulnerable in perinatal brain injury and may play a role in complex neurodevelopmental disorders, such as schizophrenia and autism. Nine postmortem fetal human brains (19-24 GW) were imaged on a 3 Tesla MR scanner and the T2-w images in the frontal and temporal lobes were compared, in each case, with the histological slices of the same brain. The brains were confirmed to be without any brain pathology. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate that the superficial SP (sSP) and deep SP (dSP) can be discriminated on postmortem MR images. More specifically, we aimed to clarify that the observable, thin, hyperintense layer below the cortical plate in the upper SP portion on T2-weighted MR images has an anatomical correspondence to the histologically established sSP. Therefore, the distinction between the sSP and dSP layers, using clinically available MR imaging methodology, is possible in postmortem MRI and can help in the imaging interpretation of the fetal cerebral layers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhaa099DOI Listing
July 2020

Clinical characteristics and prognostic factors of adult patients with pilocytic astrocytoma.

J Neurooncol 2020 May 27;148(1):187-198. Epub 2020 Apr 27.

Division of Oncology, Department of Medicine I, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Introduction: Pilocytic astrocytoma (PA) is the most common primary brain neoplasm in children and treated in curative intent with gross total resection (GTR). However, PA is rare in adults, resulting in limited knowledge on the natural clinical course. This study aimed to describe the clinical course and identify prognostic factors of adult patients with PA.

Methods: 46 patients ≥ 18 years at diagnosis of PA and neurosurgical resection or biopsy between 2000 and 2018 were identified from the Neuro-Biobank of the Medical University of Vienna. In two cases with differing histopathological diagnosis at recurrence, DNA methylation analysis was performed using Illumina Infinium HumanMethylation850 BeadChip (850 k) arrays and the Molecular Neuropathology classifier. Clinico-pathological features were correlated with patient outcomes.

Results: Median age at diagnosis was 32.5 years (range: 19-75) and median Ki67 proliferation index was 2.8% (0.5-13.4%). Tumor location significantly correlated with resectability (p < 0.001). Tumor progression or recurrence was observed in 9/46 (19.6%) patients after a median follow up time of 53.0 months (range 0.5-300). 5-year overall and progression-free survival rates were 85.3% and 70.0%, respectively. 2/9 (22.2%) patients presented with histological changes in the recurrent tumor specimen. In detail, methylation classification redefined the histological diagnosis to anaplastic astrocytoma with piloid features and glioma in one patient, each. Age > 40 and higher body mass index (BMI) were associated with impaired progression-free and overall survival (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: Tumor recurrence or progression in adult PA patients was higher than the one reported in pediatric patients. Higher age and BMI were associated with impaired prognosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-020-03513-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7280326PMC
May 2020

Clinical Neuropathology 3-2020.

Clin Neuropathol 2020 May/Jun;39(3):97-98

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http://dx.doi.org/10.5414/NPP39097DOI Listing
April 2020

Severe hydroxymethylbilane synthase deficiency causes depression-like behavior and mitochondrial dysfunction in a mouse model of homozygous dominant acute intermittent porphyria.

Acta Neuropathol Commun 2020 03 20;8(1):38. Epub 2020 Mar 20.

Department of Neurophysiology and Neuropharmacology, Center of Physiology and Pharmacology, Medical University of Vienna, Schwarzspanierstrasse, 17, A-1090, Vienna, Austria.

Acute intermittent porphyria (AIP) is an autosomal dominant inborn error of heme biosynthesis due to a pathogenic mutation in the Hmbs gene, resulting in half-normal activity of hydroxymethylbilane synthase. Factors that induce hepatic heme biosynthesis induce episodic attacks in heterozygous patients. The clinical presentation of acute attacks involves the signature neurovisceral pain and may include psychiatric symptoms. Here we used a knock-in mouse line that is biallelic for the Hmbs c.500G > A (p.R167Q) mutation with ~ 5% of normal hydroxymethylbilane synthase activity to unravel the consequences of severe HMBS deficiency on affective behavior and brain physiology. Hmbs knock-in mice (KI mice) model the rare homozygous dominant form of AIP and were used as tool to elucidate the hitherto unknown pathophysiology of the behavioral manifestations of the disease and its neural underpinnings. Extensive behavioral analyses revealed a selective depression-like phenotype in Hmbs KI mice; transcriptomic and immunohistochemical analyses demonstrated aberrant myelination. The uncovered compromised mitochondrial function in the hippocampus of knock-in mice and its ensuing neurogenic and neuroplastic deficits lead us to propose a mechanistic role for disrupted mitochondrial energy production in the pathogenesis of the behavioral consequences of severe HMBS deficiency and its neuropathological sequelae in the brain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40478-020-00910-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7082933PMC
March 2020

Clinical Neuropathology 2-2020.

Clin Neuropathol 2020 Mar/Apr;39(2):51-52

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http://dx.doi.org/10.5414/NPP39051DOI Listing
February 2020

Combined proteomics/miRNomics of dendritic cell immunotherapy-treated glioblastoma patients as a screening for survival-associated factors.

NPJ Vaccines 2020 16;5. Epub 2020 Jan 16.

Activartis Biotech GmbH, Vienna, Austria.

Glioblastoma is the most prevalent and aggressive brain cancer. With a median overall survival of ~15-20 months under standard therapy, novel treatment approaches are desperately needed. A recent phase II clinical trial with a personalized immunotherapy based on tumor lysate-charged dendritic cell (DC) vaccination, however, failed to prolong survival. Here, we investigated tumor tissue from trial patients to explore glioblastoma survival-related factors. We followed an innovative approach of combining mass spectrometry-based quantitative proteomics ( = 36) with microRNA sequencing plus RT-qPCR ( = 38). Protein quantification identified, e.g., huntingtin interacting protein 1 (HIP1), retinol-binding protein 1 (RBP1), ferritin heavy chain (FTH1) and focal adhesion kinase 2 (FAK2) as factor candidates correlated with a dismal prognosis. MicroRNA analysis identified miR-216b, miR-216a, miR-708 and let-7i as molecules potentially associated with favorable tissue characteristics as they were enriched in patients with a comparably longer survival. To illustrate the utility of integrated miRNomics and proteomics findings, focal adhesion was studied further as one example for a pathway of potential general interest. Taken together, we here mapped possible drivers of glioblastoma outcome under immunotherapy in one of the largest DC vaccination tissue analysis cohorts so far-demonstrating usefulness and feasibility of combined proteomics/miRNomics approaches. Future research should investigate agents that sensitize glioblastoma to (immuno)therapy-potentially building on insights generated here.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41541-019-0149-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6965118PMC
January 2020

Low Systemic Levels of Chemokine C-C Motif Ligand 3 (CCL3) are Associated with a High Risk of Venous Thromboembolism in Patients with Glioma.

Cancers (Basel) 2019 Dec 14;11(12). Epub 2019 Dec 14.

Division of Hematology and Hemostaseology, Department of Medicine I and Comprehensive Cancer Center Vienna, Medical University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria.

A tight interplay between inflammation and hemostasis has been described as a potential driver for developing venous thromboembolism (VTE). Here, we investigated the association of systemic cytokine levels and risk of VTE in patients with glioma. This analysis was conducted within the prospective, observational Vienna Cancer and Thrombosis Study. Patients with glioma were included at time of diagnosis or progression and were observed for a maximum of two years. Primary endpoint was objectively confirmed VTE. At study entry, a single blood draw was performed. A panel of nine cytokines was measured in serum samples with the xMAP technology developed by Luminex. Results: Overall, 76 glioma patients were included in this analysis, and 10 (13.2%) of them developed VTE during the follow-up. Chemokine C-C motif ligand 3 (CCL3) levels were inversely associated with risk of VTE (hazard ratio [HR] per double increase, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.385, 95% CI: 0.161-0.925, 0.033), while there was no association between the risk of VTE and serum levels of interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-11, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), respectively. In conclusion, low serum levels of CCL3 were associated with an increased risk of VTE. CCL3 might serve as a potential biomarker to predict VTE risk in patients with glioma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers11122020DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6966639PMC
December 2019

The coding and non-coding transcriptional landscape of subependymal giant cell astrocytomas.

Brain 2020 01;143(1):131-149

Department of (Neuro)Pathology, Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is an autosomal dominantly inherited neurocutaneous disorder caused by inactivating mutations in TSC1 or TSC2, key regulators of the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) pathway. In the CNS, TSC is characterized by cortical tubers, subependymal nodules and subependymal giant cell astrocytomas (SEGAs). SEGAs may lead to impaired circulation of CSF resulting in hydrocephalus and raised intracranial pressure in patients with TSC. Currently, surgical resection and mTORC1 inhibitors are the recommended treatment options for patients with SEGA. In the present study, high-throughput RNA-sequencing (SEGAs n = 19, periventricular control n = 8) was used in combination with computational approaches to unravel the complexity of SEGA development. We identified 9400 mRNAs and 94 microRNAs differentially expressed in SEGAs compared to control tissue. The SEGA transcriptome profile was enriched for the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway, a major regulator of cell proliferation and survival. Analysis at the protein level confirmed that extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) is activated in SEGAs. Subsequently, the inhibition of ERK independently of mTORC1 blockade decreased efficiently the proliferation of primary patient-derived SEGA cultures. Furthermore, we found that LAMTOR1, LAMTOR2, LAMTOR3, LAMTOR4 and LAMTOR5 were overexpressed at both gene and protein levels in SEGA compared to control tissue. Taken together LAMTOR1-5 can form a complex, known as the 'Ragulator' complex, which is known to activate both mTORC1 and MAPK/ERK pathways. Overall, this study shows that the MAPK/ERK pathway could be used as a target for treatment independent of, or in combination with mTORC1 inhibitors for TSC patients. Moreover, our study provides initial evidence of a possible link between the constitutive activated mTORC1 pathway and a secondary driver pathway of tumour growth.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awz370DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6935755PMC
January 2020

Assessment of brain delivery of a model ABCB1/ABCG2 substrate in patients with non-contrast-enhancing brain tumors with positron emission tomography.

EJNMMI Res 2019 Dec 12;9(1):110. Epub 2019 Dec 12.

Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Background: P-glycoprotein (ABCB1) and breast cancer resistance protein (ABCG2) are two efflux transporters expressed at the blood-brain barrier which effectively restrict the brain distribution of the majority of currently known anticancer drugs. High-grade brain tumors often possess a disrupted blood-brain tumor barrier (BBTB) leading to enhanced accumulation of magnetic resonance imaging contrast agents, and possibly anticancer drugs, as compared to normal brain. In contrast to high-grade brain tumors, considerably less information is available with respect to BBTB integrity in lower grade brain tumors.

Materials And Methods: We performed positron emission tomography imaging with the radiolabeled ABCB1 inhibitor [C]tariquidar, a prototypical ABCB1/ABCG2 substrate, in seven patients with non-contrast -enhancing brain tumors (WHO grades I-III). In addition, ABCB1 and ABCG2 levels were determined in surgically resected tumor tissue of four patients using quantitative targeted absolute proteomics.

Results: Brain distribution of [C]tariquidar was found to be very low across the whole brain and not significantly different between tumor and tumor-free brain tissue. Only one patient showed a small area of enhanced [C]tariquidar uptake within the brain tumor. ABCG2/ABCB1 ratios in surgically resected tumor tissue (1.4 ± 0.2) were comparable to previously reported ABCG2/ABCB1 ratios in isolated human micro-vessels (1.3), which suggested that no overexpression of ABCB1 or ABCG2 occurred in the investigated tumors.

Conclusions: Our data suggest that the investigated brain tumors had an intact BBTB, which is impermeable to anticancer drugs, which are dual ABCB1/ABCG2 substrates. Therefore, effective drugs for antitumor treatment should have high passive permeability and lack ABCB1/ABCG2 substrate affinity.

Trial Registration: European Union Drug Regulating Authorities Clinical Trials Database (EUDRACT), 2011-004189-13. Registered on 23 February 2012, https://www.clinicaltrialsregister.eu/ctr-search/search?query=2011-004189-13.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13550-019-0581-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6908538PMC
December 2019

Focal irregularities in 7-Tesla MRI of unruptured intracranial aneurysms as an indicator for areas of altered blood-flow parameters.

Neurosurg Focus 2019 12;47(6):E7

1Department of Neurosurgery.

Objective: In the last several decades, various factors have been studied for a better evaluation of the risk of rupture in incidentally discovered intracranial aneurysms (IAs). With advanced MRI, attempts were made to delineate the wall of IAs to identify weak areas prone to rupture. However, the field strength of the MRI investigations was insufficient for reasonable image resolution in many of these studies. Therefore, the aim of this study was to analyze findings of IAs in ultra-high field MRI at 7 Tesla (7 T).

Methods: Patients with incidentally found IAs of at least 5 mm in diameter were included in this study and underwent MRI investigations at 7 T. At this field strength a hyperintense intravascular signal can be observed on nonenhanced images with a brighter "rim effect" along the vessel wall. Properties of this rim effect were evaluated and compared with computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analyses.

Results: Overall, 23 aneurysms showed sufficient image quality for further evaluation. In 22 aneurysms focal irregularities were identified within this rim effect. Areas of such irregularities showed significantly higher values in wall shear stress and vorticity compared to areas with a clearly visible rim effect (p = 0.043 in both).

Conclusions: A hyperintense rim effect along the vessel wall was observed in most cases. Focal irregularities within this rim effect showed higher values of the mean wall shear stress and vorticity when compared by CFD analyses. Therefore, these findings indicate alterations in blood flow in IAs within these areas.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2019.9.FOCUS19489DOI Listing
December 2019

Clinical Neuropathology 6-2019.

Clin Neuropathol 2019 Nov/Dec;38(6):259-260

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http://dx.doi.org/10.5414/NPP38259DOI Listing
March 2020

Brain tumor disparities: From biology to social determinants - The 2019 Brain Tumor Epidemiology Consortium meeting report.

Clin Neuropathol 2019 Nov/Dec;38(6):297-305

The Brain Tumor Epidemiology Consortium (BTEC) is an international consortium that fosters international and interdisciplinary collaborations focusing on research related to the etiology, outcomes, and prevention of brain tumors. The 20 annual BTEC meeting with the theme "Brain tumor Disparities: From Biology to Social Determinants" was held in Los Angeles, CA, USA, on June 6 - 8, 2019. Scientists from the United States and Europe representing a broad range of brain tumor research disciplines presented their research findings at the meeting. The scientific content of the meeting is summarized below.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5414/NP301234DOI Listing
March 2020

Multicentric malignant glioma with striking morphologic heterogeneity and early and extensive metastatic spread to the bone.

Clin Neuropathol 2019 Nov/Dec;38(6):261-268

We document the case of a young adult female patient who presented with multiple intracerebral and extracerebral bone lesions, the latter most prominently along the vertebral column. The spatially distinct intracerebral lesions included a superficial frontal tumor nodule as well as diffuse enlargement of the pons. Differential diagnoses ranged from neoplastic to inflammatory conditions. Repeated bone biopsies yielded uncharacteristic reactive changes whereas cerebrospinal fluid cytology pointed towards a neoplastic disease. Resection of the superficial frontal tumor nodule prompted the diagnosis of an unusual "gliofibroma" with anaplastic features, WHO grade III. TMZ chemotherapy was initiated and led to intracranial disease stabilization, whereas the bone lesions were progressive. At 16 months after diagnosis, new brain lesions occurred, and further progression of the brain stem lesion led to clinical deterioration and patient death. Postmortem examination confirmed extensively disseminated intracranial disease with unusually striking morphologic heterogeneity across the various lesions ranging from diffuse spindle-celled areas to perivascular rosettes and embryonal-like areas. The morphologic heterogeneity was in contrast to shared epigenomic and copy number profiles supporting a common origin. Of note, molecular markers and DNA methylation-based classifier scores did not allow for unequivocal glioma classification. Ultimately, the bone lesions revealed scattered nests of GFAP-positive cells, thus confirming them as glioma-derived metastases. No other systemic organ involvement was found. In summary, this case 1) illustrates the strikingly heterogeneous morphological landscape of malignant gliomas, 2) serves as an example for rare cases that do not fit in any diagnostic category despite extensive molecular profiling, and 3) highlights the potential of gliomas for early systemic metastases - in the present case with selectivity for the bones.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5414/NP301242DOI Listing
March 2020